[Vision2020] MSD Can Collect Levy Money

Sue Hovey suehovey at moscow.com
Fri Jan 25 17:56:38 PST 2008

Tom, your video is the one which points to the actual truth.  Gerry was 
determined to "destroy the district"--his words, not mine.  Thanks for 
making the point.

Sue H.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Tom Hansen" <thansen at moscow.com>
To: <vision2020 at moscow.com>
Sent: Friday, January 25, 2008 1:16 PM
Subject: [Vision2020] MSD Can Collect Levy Money

> For those of yoiu who do not wish to read the following detailed article
> concerning Judge Bradbury's decision, I have encapsulated everything into
> a 2-minute, 23-second video at:
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeIBz3l1B5U
> -----------------------------------------------
>>From today's (January 25, 2008) Moscow-Pullman Daily News -
> ----------------------
> School district receives $1.97 million increase passed by voters in March,
> doesn't have to pay Weitz's legal fees
> By Hadley Rush, Daily News staff writer
> Friday, January 25, 2008 - Page Updated at 12:00:00 AM
> Second District Court Judge John Bradbury ruled Thursday that the Moscow
> School District can collect tax money generated from its March 2007
> supplemental levy election.
> Bradbury also ruled that the school district doesn't have to pay legal
> fees incurred by Moscow dentist Weitz, who filed a lawsuit against the
> school district in May. Weitz argued that the supplemental levy increase
> amount was invalid because the total amount certified wasn't included on
> the ballots.
> Bradbury previously ruled in favor of the district in four of five
> allegations made in the lawsuit, but said the way the election ballot was
> framed did not meet the legal standard, and needed to be reworded so the
> levy amount was specifically requested so "voters will know what the
> consequence of their vote is."
> Bradbury deferred his written ruling at an October hearing and gave the
> district six weeks to correct the language on its 2007 supplemental levy
> ballot - to include both the increase ($1.97 million) and the total amount
> ($7.6 million) certified - and re-run the election.
> The Moscow School Board reran the election Nov. 13, and 57.7 percent of
> voters supported the increase.
> Meanwhile, the Idaho State Tax Commission billed MSD patrons for the $1.97
> million increase to the district's indefinite supplemental levy that
> passed in March, but it was unclear until Thursday when - or if - the
> district would see any of the money after Bradbury declared the March
> election "null and void" in his initial written judgement, filed in
> November.
> The taxes collected for the school district's March levy election were
> withheld from the district by the Latah County Treasurer's Office subject
> to Bradbury's final ruling.
> "This is a case of first impression," Bradbury wrote. "The statutory
> scheme is complex. The school district did what it thought was right. Dr.
> Weitz provided a valuable service of clarifying a statute much in need of
> clarity.
> "Given the novelty of the issues and the mixed result for both parties, I
> conclude neither party prevailed."
> Moscow School District Superintendent Candis Donicht said the district is
> happy with the judge's final decision.
> "Of course the district is pleased with the ruling," Donicht said. "I
> admit I had to read the document several times to fully comprehend the
> issues that the judge went over in his discussion."
> Donicht said it's important to remember that this was a complex legal case
> because there are few legal guidelines regarding what to do in an
> indefinite supplemental levy lawsuit.
> "We didn't have good language to identify how one goes about doing an
> increase to an indefinite supplemental levy," she said.
> Donicht said it's unfortunate the Moscow School District had to be
> involved in one of the first lawsuits regarding indefinite supplemental
> levies, but that it was a problem waiting to occur.
> "It was bound to happen somewhere, sometime, and it happened here,"
> Donicht said.
> Neither Weitz or his attorney, Brian Thie, returned calls seeking comment
> before press time.
> Latah County Treasurer Connie Jain Ferguson said the district received a
> check for its tax money this morning.
> "They got their taxes today, because by law Jan. 25 is the apportionment
> date," she said. "We had collected the money ... we were just waiting for
> the judge to rule. This is such an unusual case."
> Ferguson said her department feels relieved after being at a legal
> standstill for so long.
> "It's a very nice thing to have taken care of. We're grateful," she
> said. "We hope it turned out well for people. We just needed to know what
> the law was going to tell us to do. The school now has that money to keep
> their operations flowing."
> Donicht said it's important to note that there were no winners or losers
> in the suit.
> "No one prevailed. We got (what) we need to provide the services we need,"
> she said. "This case has been so complicated that I didn't know what to
> expect.
> "The judge has been sensitive to the fact that this issue has divided a
> community, and (he) stated a number of times in this case that both sides
> were well-meaning and good supporters of public education."
> Donicht said she still believes the lawsuit was a necessity to reach a
> resolution, and the district hopes it can maintain a congenial
> relationship with Weitz.
> "We needed a court ruling in order to validate what we believed (to be)
> right was right, and as it turned out we needed correct ballot language to
> properly do so," she said.
> Donicht said Bradbury ruled with compassion and looked beyond
> technicalities.
> "The judge has clearly looked at both sides of this issue," she
> said. "It's always unfortunate when we have to get answers through a
> lawsuit. Now it's over and we can move forward."
> -----------------------------------------------
> Seeya round town, Moscow.
> Tom Hansen
> Moscow, Idaho
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